4.5 out of 5 Stars
“Spy Ski School” is the latest offering in the Spy School series by Stuart Gibbs. Right now there are 4 books in the series, “Spy School”, “Spy Camp”, “Evil Spy School”, and “Spy Ski School”. I have to admit, I have only had a chance to read the first book in the series before this one and I felt like this held up as a stand alone without reading the others first. There are references to the other books and adventures Ben and Erica have been on, but Mr. Gibbs gave the information we needed for the story to hold together just fine on it’s own. I will be honest though, I am going to go back and read them now because it left me wondering what Ben and Erica have been up to! Plus, these books are just fun.
“Spy Ski School” starts with our main character, 13-year old Ben Ripley, back at Spy School. He is half way through his daily lessons on Advance Self-Preservation when he is called to the principal’s office. Cyrus, Alexander, and Erica Hale are all there waiting for him when he steps into the small closet functioning as the principals office. It seems the principal’s office was was blown up in a previous adventure, something he hasn’t forgiven Ben for. Ben is told an International Businessman/Crook, Leo Shang, will be coming to America with his daughter for a ski vacation, but they think is up to no good and the ski vacation is all a cover for nefarious dealings. Ben is “activated” along with Erica, Zoe, Warren, Jawa, Hank, and Chip. Their mission is to befriend Jessica Shang, Leo’s daughter, while learning to ski and figure out what his plans for “Gold Fist” are and to thwart them. This isn’t going to be easy with body guards everywhere and only partial access to Jessica through ski school. Will they figure out the plans? Will they be able to save the day in time?
Like I said, this is a really fun read. I love the interaction between the kids and the little bit of “crushing” happening between a few of them (don’t worry mom and dad – there is a hug and a super quick peck on the lips, otherwise it is all very tame). Where past books had a bit of swearing in them, this one didn’t (at least nothing that stood out to me). I would be totally fine with my 8/9-year old son reading this on his own. There were mentions of jerk/idiot and that sort of thing, so for your younger readers that is easily swapped out if you are reading to them.
I enjoyed the twists and turns this book took. I felt it kept the reader hopping with lots of adventure and silliness. The end has a bit of suspense and like I said, I loved the way the kids interacted and worked as a team to solve issues they came across, including Ben’s best friend Mike showing up to surprise him!
As an adult I found this really lighthearted, especially after reading a heavier book recently. “A Monster Calls” was amazing, but this was just so much fun and a great “palate cleanser”. In fact, I think I may have liked this more than the first one and didn’t want to put it down. My son has been begging to read it, especially since he has also been begging to ski again! I think this will be perfect for winter break and our trip to the mountains.
I am off to read Evil Spy School and Spy Camp so I know what I missed! And we are already looking forward to Spy School #5 and #6 which are due to release Fall 2017 and 2018 respectively.